16 May 2022
Recording of the week: On climbing mountains - a woman's view
This week’s selection comes from Giulia Baldorilli, Sound and Vision Reference Specialist.
In this oral history interview, Jean Drummond looks back at the times when she used to rock climb as part of the Pinnacle Club, a UK based club of women climbers that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021.
I was quite intrigued to listen to a recount of a climbing experience from a woman’s point of view.
Jean describes climbing as a social practice as well as an exercise; climbing requires a partner, and she (almost annoyingly) tells how her body doesn’t allow her to be the leading companion anymore.
Jean describes the technical components of climbing these days, starting from the climbing gear, which became more practical and easy to buy as shops to buy equipment from multiplied.
She admires the scientific aspects of this change, although there is a nostalgic nuance in the admission that it is not the sport she used to love. Perhaps the adventure side has been lost with the proliferation of climbing walls, very much a different experience of being out there, in nature.
She describes climbing nowadays as something more similar to gymnastics, while recalling memories of when she saw mountains as her friend. This summarises in one simple image the core essence of the discipline: the challenge of reaching the top, a sense of accomplishment that accompanies the final step.
On a personal note, climbing could be a metaphorical wall, a way to push our limits; it helps with being centred in the present moment, and gives a sense of reward when reaching the top.
With self-motivation, mountains can be our friends, a genuine escape from our inner fears.